Diaspora

UN says communities in Haiti rebuilding for more resilient future a year after devastating earthquake – caribbeannationalweekly.com

The United Nations said says one year after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, communities are rebuilding their lives and aiming to be better prepared when future disasters strike.
“A line of women carries rocks in the hands and on their heads, as they descend to a gully on the side of a hill in southern Haiti,” the UN said in a statement on Saturday.
“They are bringing the rocks so their community can build barriers, which will slow down the flow of water across this verdant valley and protect the land, which is so important to this rural farming community, from erosion,” it added.
The UN said the team of workers building the barriers comprises women and men from vulnerable communities in one of three departments across Haiti’s southern peninsula, which were hit by a destructive 7.2 magnitude earthquake on August 14, 2021.
More than 2,200 people died in the disaster and over 137,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, as well as hospitals, schools, and key transport infrastructure, including roads and bridges, the UN said.
Just down the valley, it said another team of around 36 people is working hard at clearing the road.
The UN said they are being paid 500 Haitian gourdes (around US$5) for a 4-5 hour-day and will spend 20 days working to improve their community.
“The money I earn helps me to pay for food, school and other household needs,” Tesse Medgune told the UN. “Many families lost their livelihood because of the earthquake so this helps us to survive.”
The UN said the rehabilitation work on the side of the hill and valley road is supported by its World Food Program and is part of a Haitian government effort to improve the resilience of vulnerable people who are threatened by natural disasters.
Many of these people also receive support to improve food production activities and their nutrition, the UN said.
It said there are 16 similar teams in this immediate area and many more across the southern peninsula of Haiti, where the earthquake caused most damage.
Jerry Chandler, director general of Haiti’s Civil Protection agency, said: “We have worked closely with our international partners, including the UN, to ensure that our disaster response is more robust.
“So, we are planning for the eventuality of another disaster happening but also ensuring that the impact is lessened,” he added.
The UN said some 26,200 people fled their uninhabitable homes, and the majority were accommodated in 85 temporary displacement sites.
A majority has now returned home.
As houses are rebuilt roof by roof, and roads repaired stone by stone, the UN said its agencies are still working in the three departments, providing much-needed services, but also creating space for communities to make decisions about how best to protect themselves when the next disaster strikes.
CMC/
 
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